“Westworld” Delay Allowed For A Five Season Plan

With the debut set for next month, it’s easy to forget HBO’s upcoming “Westworld” series has had a troubled production in terms of getting to the screen. Back in January came word that filming had been temporarily shut down in order to give showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy more time to work on the final episodes of the season.

Joy told EW a few months back that due to the complicated and ambitious nature of the series they needed more time to catch up on scripts and really map out the complex interlocking story along with deepening certain character arcs.

Now it seems the producers also had to sort out their master plan for the entire series, including planning things out all the way to the eventual series finale, along with laying plenty of groundwork in the first season. Actor James Marsden explains what the delay was really about, telling EW:

“It wasn’t about getting the first ten [episodes] done, it was about mapping out what the next 5 or 6 years are going to be. We wanted everything in line so that when the very last episode airs and we have our show finale, five or seven years down the line, we knew how it was going to end the first season – that’s the way Jonah and [executive producer J.J. Abrams] operate. They’re making sure all the ducks are in the row. And it’s a testament to Jonah and Lisa and HBO that we got them right, especially the last three scripts. They could have rushed them and get spread too thin. They got them right, and when they were right, we went and shot them.”

Nolan says they had a rough plan for the first three or four seasons when they pitched the show to HBO, but needed to firm up the tail end. One thing they were adamant about not doing though is repeating themselves:

“We didn’t want to have a story that repeated itself [each year]. We didn’t want the Fantasy Island version of this [where new guests arrive at the park every season]. We wanted a big story. We wanted the story of the origin of a new species and how that would play out in its complexity.”

“Westworld” premieres October 2nd on HBO.